Suspects in ‘professional’ killing of Palestinian lecturer still in Malaysia, police say
The pair, who shot Fadi al-Batsh from a motorcycle, are believed to have entered the country in January but their nationalities are unknown
Two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian lecturer in Kuala Lumpur were still in the country, police said on Wednesday, as they released a fresh image of one of the men.
Two men on a high-powered motorcycle fired at least 14 shots at Fadi al-Batsh, an engineering lecturer, outside the block of flats where he lived on Saturday, killing him on the spot.
A Kawasaki motorcycle was found abandoned near a lake about nine minutes from the scene, from which police were able to trace a photo of one of the suspects, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun told reporters.
The suspects were believed to have entered Malaysia sometime in late January, but it was not known what nationalities they were or where they had travelled from, said Mohamad Fuzi.
“We believe the suspects are still in the country,” he said.
“We have yet to identify them, but we suspect that they used fake identification either when entering the country or when they were here.”
Authorities had originally released computer-generated photographs of the suspects, who witnesses described as well-built and light-skinned, possibly Middle Eastern or European.
A new photo of one of the suspects shows a light-skinned man with dark, wavy hair and a prominent goatee.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Saturday the suspects were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency.
Hamas, the political group that rules the Gaza Strip, has accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of assassinating Batsh, who they say was a member of their group. Israel denied the charge.
Mohamad Fuzi said the killing appeared “very professionally done”, but declined to comment on reports it was a Mossad operation or that it was carried out by trained assassins.
Batsh’s body was driven through the Malaysian capital on Wednesday accompanied by a large chanting crowd.
Mourners also accused Israel of killing him.
Hundreds of people marched through the capital under Palestinian flags accompanying a van holding the body, as they carried placards showing the victim’s face and chanting “God is greatest”.
The remains were taken to a mosque, where prayers for the dead were performed before about 500 mourners.
“Every Palestinian who has heard of this assassination is saddened and shocked,” Muslim Imran, chairman of the Palestinian Cultural Organisation of Malaysia, told the crowd. “This crime, I believe, is another reflection of the nature of the Israeli occupation. They carry out crimes, massacres, not only in Palestine but also in the rest of the world.”
Batsh was a lecturer at University of Kuala Lumpur, specialising in power engineering, according to the university.
Batsh’s body will be returned to Gaza via Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday evening, after a funeral ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Palestine’s ambassador to Malaysia Anwar al-Agha said.
Mossad has been accused of several high-profile killings involving Palestinians around the world, although Israel has consistently denied the accusations.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse